Are you unhappy with an HMRC tax decision?

HMRC investigation appeal
Jun
1
Posted 2020 by Chris Davies

Typically, if you have a disagreement with HMRC then you appeal their decision. Note that under the current COVID19 arrangements there is an extended appeal period, and if you need help with an appeal then we’d be happy to assist you.  But what if HMRC disagree with your appeal? Well then there is a process of internal HMRC Review.

The Review is performed by HMRC, but involves an alternate officer with a “clean sheet” approach – if the Review differs from HMRC’s original view, then a further officer was understood to make the decision, and that could be in the taxpayers favour or supportive of HMRC’s original ruling.  In fact this authors experience is that the original decision is rarely altered.   

A recent Tribunal case (McMillan) has suggested some serious shortcomings in the review process.  The case revolved around HMRC’s attempts to tax gambling winnings. The facts of the case are interesting and, unusually in a gambling case, HMRC lost.   However in the course of the case the Tribunal was accidentally presented with two versions of the internal HMRC Review conclusion.  We understand the versions came to completely opposing conclusions, were redrafted within 6 days of each other and were penned by the same officer.  The taxpayer, of course, originally only received the later copy which found against him, seeking to ultimately confirm substantial tax liabilities and penalties.

The tax profession has always had a concern that the internal HMRC Review process may not be robust and this rapid about turn in the officer’s opinion is unexplained.  Leading Counsel have asked HMRC to explain the volte-face and to confirm that taxpayers can rely on a level of objectivity and integrity when requesting the Review procedure.

In the meantime, if you are dissatisfied with a HMRC conclusion and are contemplating appeal or Review, then don’t hesitate to speak to one our experienced investigators about the merits of your appeal, and the procedures to adopt. We have expertise in dealing with HMRC appeals and disputes and would be your advocate if or when the going gets tough. As for Mr McMillan, we’ll keep you posted!

To discuss please call Phil Kinzett-Evans on 01635 555666 or David Jones on 07922 425173.